Sam Allardyce says Norwich City game is a 'must not lose' match

The Sunderland manager reflects on the defeat to Leicester City and looks ahead to the upcoming match against the Canaries.

Sam Allardyce says Norwich City game is a 'must not lose' match
Sam Allardyce shows his displeasure in Sunderland's defeat to Leicester. (Photo: Ian Hodgson)

Sam Allardyce believes it will be more important for Sunderland not to lose at Norwich City this weekend than having to beat them.

Another disappointing result

Once again Sunderland came away from a game in which they'd played well for the most part, but with no real reward in terms of points as they lost 2-0 in front of over 46,000 fans against Premier League leaders Leicester City.

A second half brace from Jamie Vardy meant the Black Cats could not gain any ground on Norwich above them, who had lost at Crystal Palace the previous day.

More of a battle than a game

When asked how to describe the match on Sunday, Allardyce told Sunderland's official website: "It was a tight, competitive game and became more of a battle."

He added: "Leicester got the break at the right time, due to our lack of concentration."

Allardyce, as a former defender himself will have indeed been disappointed with the way Leicester found their breakthrough, as a simple ball over the top allowed Vardy to get in behind Younes Kaboul and in the one on one situation, the result was academic.

Ruing missed chances

Sunderland were certainly a threat throughout the match though and created some good chances, none better than the one that fell the way of Jack Rodwell, who Allardyce had brought on just after the opening goal. A shot deflected into the midfielder's path and, with a clear sight of goal from just outside the six yard box, he blazed over much to the crowd's frustration.

Allardyce himself felt this was a key moment in the game, saying: "The next turning point in the game was when Rodwell could have pulled us back to 1-1, but it didn't happen." The former Newcastle United manager, however, chose not to openly criticise the player in this instance.

It wasn't just missed chances in this game that Allardyce wanted to talk about though. Speaking about the team's run of form, he said: "Losing today wouldn't have been quite as bad if we had more [points] out of the last three games."

Jack Rodwell could have levelled things up had he hit the target. (Photo: Reuters)
Jack Rodwell could have levelled things up against Leicester had he hit the target. (Photo: Reuters)

Looking ahead

Sunderland must now pick themselves up for what is effectively a cup final at Carrow Road against Norwich on Saturday.

Allardyce appreciated the significance of this game, saying: "Coming away without any points makes next week's game one where we have to hold our nerve."

However, when asked whether the Norwich game was a must win encounter, Allardyce believes: "It's more important that we don't lose because giving them three points would be worse."

The manager is perhaps playing on the fact his team have a game in hand on the Canaries, although most people would take points on the board at this stage of the season.